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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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"There will be no standing charge" for water, Howlin confirms

The average yearly cost is still expected to be €240 but there will be allowances for households with children.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 9.15am

PUBLIC EXPENDITURE MINISTER Brendan Howlin has confirmed there will be no standing charge included in the soon-to-be-introduced charges for household water use.

“When the full scheme is presented today there will be no standing charge which means that it will genuinely be a conservation measure,” Howlin said on his way into this morning’s Cabinet meeting.

“People will be able to effect their bills on the basis of water usage. There will be a decent allowance for every household and a generous allowance for every child under 18.”

There has been a divide within the Cabinet over the issue in recent weeks, with Labour saying it had substantive differences with Fine Gael on the charges.

Labour ministers have been speaking out in recently against the idea of a fixed charge.

However the party leader, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, said the coalition had made progress on the issue over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Yesterday evening, Minister Phil Hogan also said an agreement had been reached and that Cabinet will sign off on the proposals at today’s meeting. The average yearly cost is still expected to be around €240.

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“There have been a lot of very constructive discussions between the two parties and we expect to be able to conclude the matter today,” Taoiseach Enda Kenny said on his way into this morning’s meeting.

Asked whether he though the public would be happy with what was agreed, Kenny said “I suppose people are never happy with any new charge but this is a case of where you’re spending €1.2 billion on production of water and 40 per cent is leaking away”.

I’ve often said that water is one natural resource that has been very much abused in this country — taps left running needlessly for hours when they might not need to be… So the water metering programme is a conservation measure in itself.

“As you’re aware we’ve already said that the average metered charge will be around €60 per quarter — it doesn’t have to be that if people are clear about the conservation they can take by actually turning off the tap.”

Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy.

Read: From a trickle… Water protests now springing up all over Dublin 5>

Read: Today’s the day Irish Water take over the network>

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